By John Balch
“This is another way of getting our feet wet a little more,” said South Pike County School District’s technology coordinator Karen Richardson about the district’s participation in the computer-programming tutorial, Hour of Code, Dec. 7-11.
The Hour of Code is described as “a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries.” The event is being held in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week and is being sponsored by some of the biggest names in the field of computer science, including Google, Microsoft, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Juniper, Facebook and Linkedin.
“These are the giants of the industry,” Richardson said. “That should tell you the scope of the project and how much stock these companies put into what is being taught and learned in our school systems.”
Richardson added that the event will compliment the school district’s recent leap to one-to-one technology in which every student on campus now has their own Apple device, either iPads of MacBook Air laptops. The iPads are provided for students in grades K-8th and the MacBooks are provided for 9th-12th grade students.
“The kids are already there, it’s about time we caught up,” Richardson said about today’s generation and their use of technology in every day life. “This event will encourage the kids to look even further and show them exactly what is out there after graduation.”
Richardson, along with teachers Marc McRae and Sarita McRae have received training to conduct the event, which will involve every student on both the Delight and Murfreesboro campuses. Several other teachers and staff members have also stepped up to assist.
“I believe it is extremely important for us to teach computer science in our schools,” said Marc McRae. “By teaching CS to our students, they learn many valuable critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will help them as they continue their life after school.”
Richardson noted in an item promoting the event that in today’s economy computing jobs outnumber students graduating into the field by 3-to-1 and computer science is “foundational for every student today. Yet, most schools don’t teach it.”
“At South Pike County School District, we are trying to change that,” she said. “That is why our entire school is joining in on the largest learning event in history.” Kindergarten students will participate in “unplugged activities” where no device is needed in the lesson plan.
The public is invited to observe, and even participate in the Hour of Code.
Richardson said the event will “make a strong statement that South Pike County School District is ready to teach our students critical 21st century skills. We want to ensure that our students are on the forefront of creating technology of the future – not just consuming it.”
The Hour of Code schedule includes:
Monday, Dec. 7
Murfreesboro Elementary School
Tuesday, Dec. 8
Wednesday, Dec. 9
Delight Elementary School
Murfreesboro High School
Thursday, Dec. 10
Friday, Dec. 11